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Interior Designer

Interior designers create and enhance interior spaces to improve quality of life, increase productivity and protect public health, safety and welfare.

Also Known As

Designer

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Interior Designers (5242) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Interior Designers (F142) 
  • 2011 NOC: Interior designers and interior decorators (5242) 
  • 2016 NOC: Interior designers and interior decorators (5242) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Interior Designers
2006 NOC : 5242

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

INNOVATIVE

Interest in synthesizing information to develop plans, elevations, cross sections and detailed drawings, and advise on selection of colours, finishes and materials, floor and wall coverings, interior and exterior lighting, furniture and other items, taking into account ergonomic and occupational health standards

METHODICAL

Interest in precision working with equipment to prepare plans and specifications for final interior designs in accordance with current practices and codes; and to estimate costs and materials required

SOCIAL

Interest in consulting with clients to determine needs, preferences, safety requirements and purpose of space; may advise on leasing, real estate and marketing

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2017

Interior designers plan new interiors and renovate existing ones in single- and multi-family dwellings and in commercial buildings such as offices, institutions, stores, hotels and restaurants. Responsibilities vary from one position or project to another but, in general, interior designers:

  • identify and analyze client needs and goals, safety requirements, budget limitations and project schedules
  • prepare preliminary plans and design concepts for client approval
  • estimate costs and prepare budgets
  • develop presentations, which may include drawings, sketches, renderings, perspectives, colour and material boards, photographs or models
  • prepare working drawings and specifications for non-load-bearing construction including materials, finishes, millwork and furnishings
  • prepare tender documents, co-ordinate the bid process and assist clients in awarding contracts
  • confirm that required building permits and other code permits are obtained
  • collaborate with professional and technical consultants including mechanical, electrical and structural engineers, architects and audiovisual consultants
  • conduct field reviews of construction and installation of furnishings, fixtures and equipment
  • review and evaluate projects on behalf of clients, both during implementation and upon completion.

Interior designers co-ordinate their work with other professionals and work closely with general contractors to ensure that their drawings are interpreted correctly. They may co-ordinate the activities of trades (such as painters and carpenters) when there is no general contractor.

Interior designers are concerned with general and detailed planning, spatial arrangements, health and safety issues, detailing, constructability and technical considerations (for example, lighting and acoustics), as well as the aesthetics of a space. They are more involved with technical considerations than interior decorators are. Decorators focus on the ornamental and moveable aspects of interiors (colour, furniture, rugs, drapery) and fixed details (such as moldings) that easily can be added to an existing space. For more information, see the Interior Decorator occupational profile.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2017
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Working conditions vary considerably. Interior designers frequently meet with clients, other consultants and contractors in clients’ workplaces and homes, in interior design offices, in consultants’ offices and at worksites. Work hours are sometimes long or irregular, and may include weekends and evenings.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2017

Interior designers need:

  • creativity and imagination
  • attention to detail
  • oral, written, and graphic communication skills
  • the ability to visualize spatial relationships in 3 dimensions
  • the ability to work on several projects in different stages of development at the same time
  • the ability to deal with the pressure of deadlines
  • the ability to work well with people from a wide variety of backgrounds.

They should enjoy synthesizing information to develop plans and design concepts, taking a methodical approach to work requiring precision, and working with people.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Interior designers and interior decorators
NOC code: 5242

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 18 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Oct 29, 2021 and May 20, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Create interior spaces that reflect clients' needs and tastes
Consult with clients to determine needs, preferences, safety requirements and purpose of space
Advise on selection of colours, finishes and materials, lighting, furniture and other items, taking into account ergonomic and occupational health standards
Develop plans, elevations, cross sections and detailed drawings
Estimate cost of projects and prepare detailed specifications
Develop detailed plans and 3-D models showing arrangement of walls, dividers, displays, lighting and other fixtures
Personal Suitability: Effective interpersonal skills
Personal Suitability: Organized
Computer Experience: AutoCAD
Area of Specialization: Interior design (general)
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2017
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary

There are no standard educational requirements for interior designers in Alberta. However, to be licensed by the Alberta Association of Architects, interior designers must have a degree in interior design plus related experience, or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

Some post-secondary schools offer 2-year interior design diploma programs which are not accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA). Graduates of these programs are not eligible for professional registration without further education and a longer period of work experience. Visit the CIDA website for a list of accredited programs in Canada.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Bow Valley College

Lethbridge College

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

University of Alberta

Visual College of Art and Design of Calgary

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2017
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

Architect

Architects design building projects and advise clients regarding building projects. They prepare programs, sketches and cost estimates, produce scale construction drawings, write specifications and review on-site construction work.

Legislation

Under Alberta's Architects Act and Architects Act General Regulation, you must be registered with the Alberta Association of Architects (AAA) to practice as an Architect and use the title Architect. If you are not registered with AAA, you may work under the supervision of a registered architect. Licensed interior designers and restricted practitioners may practice architecture on projects of limited scope with AAA approval.

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Architect.

Interior Designer

Interior designers create and enhance interior spaces to improve quality of life, increase productivity and protect public health, safety and welfare.

Legislation

Under Alberta's Architects Act [pdf] and Architects Act General Regulation [pdf], the Alberta Association of Architects (AAA) oversees interior designer certification, which entitles designers to practise a portion of the scope of practice defined in the Architects Act and Regulation. You do not have to be registered if you do not practise as or use the title Licensed Interior Designer.

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Interior Designer.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2017

Interior designers are employed by:

  • interior design firms
  • architectural firms
  • institutions such as schools, universities and hospitals
  • building development companies
  • corporate planning offices
  • hotels and restaurants
  • furniture and product or materials manufacturers and dealers government planning offices
  • property management companies.

Graduates of recognized 4-year degree programs usually begin work in interior design firms or architectural firms, or in the planning departments of corporations or institutions. Graduates of 2-year diploma programs are often employed by home builders, kitchen and bath manufacturers, or flooring companies, or as assistants in interior design firms or architectural firms. Some are employed in retail sales positions (see the Interior Decorator occupational profile) or in technical sales positions with commercial suppliers (see the Technical Sales Representative occupational profile). Experience gained in sales positions may not be eligible for credit toward professional accreditation.

In Alberta, 77% of people employed as interior designers work in the following industries:

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions)
  • size of the occupation

In Alberta, the 5242: Interior designers and interior decorators occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.3% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 39 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2017

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Interior designers and interior decorators

2016 NOC : 5242
Average Wage
$31.29
Per Hour
Average Salary
$62,883.00
Per Year
Average Hours
38.7
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 5242 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $17.31 $30.77 $23.26 $23.08
Overall $23.54 $44.71 $31.29 $32.62
Top $25.96 $53.85 $41.41 $39.32

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services
ALL INDUSTRIES
Construction
Manufacturing

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

48%
48%)

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

15%
15%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

5%
5%

Vacancy Rate

1%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Human Ecology, Fashion and Food Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2017

Alberta Association of Architects (AAA) website: www.aaa.ab.ca

BuildForce Canada website: www.buildforce.ca

Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) website: www.accredit-id.org

Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ) website: www.cidq.org

Decorators and Designers Association of Canada (DDA Canada) website: ddacanada.com

Interior Designers of Alberta (IDA) website: www.idalberta.ca

Interior Designers of Canada (IDC) website: www.idcanada.org

National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) website: www.nkba.org

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2017. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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